Upon entering into a marriage, all property earnings and debts from the date of the marriage are community property. The divorce process requires couples to divide all assets and debt equally.
Most divorces and legal separations involve significant property issues. Even when the parties have no property, often there is “community” debt that must be allocated between the parties.
In California, community property assets and debts are usually divided 50/50.
While each spouse keeps his/her respective separate property, sometimes separate and community property becomes commingled and is presumed to be “community property” until proven otherwise by one of the spouses. A forensic tracing of property can be performed by a suitable expert to identify a spouse’s separate property.
In most divorces, the major focus and typically the major point of contention is the division of marital property. Valuation and proper characterization of all community assets and debt are essential to achieving a fair property settlement.
When necessary, a forensic accountant or other expert is retained to help identify a spouse’s separate property in addition to the value of various assets such as a business, home, vehicle or a boat.